Royal Furgeson, Dean, announced four new faculty members for the UNT Dallas College of Law today as plans for the law school’s second year of teaching are being released. The four new professors represent legal experience spanning many practice areas and types of practice.
Joining UNT Dallas College of Law are Jonathan Bridges, Michael P. Maslanka, Brian Owsley, and Reynaldo Valencia.
“We are thrilled to have these new faculty members,” announced Dean Furgeson. “Each one brings years of experience in the legal profession to the classroom. Those who come from academia have earned great respect for their teaching and professionalism, and they engaged in high-level law practice before entering teaching. Those who come from the world of law practice are widely recognized as superior lawyers, and they also have extensive teaching experience either before law school or during their practice.”
He adds, “All four are committed to our mission, and they will contribute immensely to the evolution of the College of Law.”
Jonathan Bridges joins the law school faculty as Assistant Professor of Law, having recently served as partner in the premier litigation firm of Susman Godfrey LLP. Professor Bridges will teach Property, Evidence, Legal Writing, and other subjects. He is a graduate of Notre Dame Law School.
Michael P. Maslanka is widely regarded as one of the top employment and human resources lawyers in Texas and is well known as a prolific writer. Professor Maslanka will teach Contract Law, Employment Law, and other courses. He earned his J.D. from Tulane University Law School.
Brian L. Owsley has an extensive and a varied practice career and judicial experience in addition to teaching at Texas Tech and Indiana Tech law schools. He joins the faculty as Assistant Professor of Law and will teach Torts, Constitutional Law, and other courses. He received his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.
Reynaldo (“Rey”) Valencia joins us from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas, as Visiting Professor of Law and will teach Business Associations in addition to his role as Interim Dean of Operations. A native Texan, Professor Valencia is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School.
Ellen S. Pryor, Associate Dean for Academics, said about the new faculty members, “All are committed to the educational approach of the College of Law, even as they bring new insights and talents to us. They are all student-focused. They have all earned high accolades for professionalism and excellence throughout long and demanding careers in the law.”
Other plans for the new law school include the first summer term courses beginning June 1 in Family Law, Health Care Law, Advanced Legal Research, and Principles of Accounting and Finance for Lawyers. Fall 2015 brings the second group of 1L students to enter the school and the introduction of upper level courses for 2L students.
The new faculty members join inaugural faculty members Ellen S. Pryor, Cheryl B. Wattley, Thomas P. Perkins, Jr., Eric Porterfield, and Al Ellis. The 2014-2015 academic year also included Visiting Professor David Epstein and Visiting Professor Dylan Malagrinò, plus faculty from the Law Library: Assistant Dean Edward Hart and Professors Jennifer Wondracek and Jessica Haseltine. Professor Diana Howard specializes in the areas of legal writing and legal writing resources. Read about these professors.
UNT Dallas College of Law received legislative authorization in 2009 with funding for the school approved for the 2011-2012 state budget year. Located in a recently renovated historic building in downtown Dallas, the College of Law seated the Inaugural Class of 153 first-year law students in fall 2014. Core goals for the College of Law include widening access to a legal education by keeping tuition low, thus allowing students to graduate with lower student debt; developing practice-related competencies, professionalism and a spirit of service to the community in addition to legal doctrine; and educating future lawyers across a breadth of ethnic, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, ages, and professionals with career experience or military and law enforcement experience alongside traditional law students.
The Inaugural Class reflects these goals. With an average age of 33 years, students range from 20 years to 67 years old and fifty-two percent are women. Nearly a third of the class hold an advanced degree and forty-eight percent are students of color.